1 - What is changing for residential and small business customers on November 1, 2020?
On November 1, 2020, there will be two electricity rate options that residential and small business customers, who are billed under the provincial Regulated Price Plan (RPP), can choose from: time-of-use (TOU) rates and tiered rates.
Back in June 2020, the Ontario government announced that RPP customers will be able to choose a plan that best suits their household and lifestyle with the option of either TOU electricity rates or tiered pricing.
2 - When can customers make a choice between time-of-use and tiered rates?
Starting October 13, 2020, as prescribed by our regulator, the Ontario Energy Board (OEB), a rate selection form will be made available on Hydro Ottawa’s website and MyAccount. Customers will be able to submit their request by mail, email, phone or through MyAccount.
There is no deadline to make a decision and complete the form. If you do not wish to make a choice at this time, you will continue to be billed under time-of-use (TOU) as your default rate plan.
Following the prescribed process and timelines, you may select and change your rate plan at any time (i.e. from TOU to tiered rates and vice versa).
3 - What is the difference between time-of-use and tiered rates and who sets these rates?
Time-of-use rates (TOU)
Under TOU, you pay a different rate for electricity depending on the time of day and day of the week you consume it. Time-of-use has three periods: on-peak (when energy demand and cost is high), mid-peak (when energy demand and cost is moderate) and off-peak (when energy demand and cost is low). Learn more about TOU.
NOTE: On June 1, 2020, the provincial government introduced the COVID-19 Recovery Rate. This fixed TOU electricity rate of 12.8¢/kWh, 24 hrs a day, seven days a week will be in place until October 31, 2020.
Under tiered, you can use a certain amount of energy each month at a lower rate. Once that limit is exceeded, the rate goes up. Learn more about tiered pricing.
NOTE: On May 1, 2020, the Ontario Energy Board (OEB) announced that it would keep the winter tier threshold in place in order for residential customers that are on tiered pricing to have an additional 400kWh/month available at the lower rate.
The OEB typically sets new electricity rates under the Regulated Price Plan in May and November of every year, based on an estimate of how much it will cost to supply customers with the electricity that they are expected to use.
On October 13, 2020, the Ontario Energy Board (OEB) announced new electricity rates for residential and small business customers, to be effective November 1, 2020, under the Regulated Price Plan (RPP).
To learn more on the new RPP prices, please refer to the Ontario Energy Board.
4 - Once I make my choice, complete and submit the form, when will I see the new rate plan reflected on my bill?
Your rate change form will be processed in the next 10 business days of receiving a valid form. Once your validated form has been fully processed, your new rate plan will take effect and appear on your next available bill or the following one, depending on where your account is in the billing cycle for consumption on or post November 1, 2020.
By way of example:
If your billing period corresponds to the calendar month, and you submit a valid form ‘’by email’’ on November 2, 2020, Hydro Ottawa would begin to apply ‘’tiered rates’’ pricing as of December 1, 2020, and your December bill would reflect the new rate plan;
If you submit a valid form ‘’by email’’ on November 29, 2020, the new rate plan would not take effect until January 1, 2021.
Meaning that the change in rate plan will start to apply only as of a future date/or future billing period. The change will not be applied back to the beginning of the billing period in which the valid form was received.
5 - Who is eligible for the customer choice rate option program?
All residential and small business consumers who pay time-of-use (TOU) electricity rates under the Regulated Price Plan (RPP) are eligible.
Customers who are not billed under the RPP, such as retailer-enrolled customers, are not eligible.
Customers currently on a tiered pricing plan may also request to switch to TOU. However, Hydro Ottawa will need to confirm if they have the appropriate meter before making the switch. In order to be billed on TOU rates, customers must have a smart meter. Learn more about smart meters.
If you live in a condo or apartment with an individual meter, the switch needs to be made for the building as a whole and that this is decided usually by the property manager, landlord or condo board.
6 - Where can I find more information, tools and advice to help me make an informed decision?
The Ontario Energy Board (OEB) has released a number of tools to help consumers in making a choice, including an energy bill calculator to compare what your electricity bill might look like it you switched from TOU to tiered pricing, and a dedicated customer choice webpage available at oeb.ca/choice.
To better understand the potential impacts of rate change on your bill, it’s important to know what your overall energy consumption is and how your day-to-day habits can influence your energy costs.
The information contained in Hydro Ottawa’s MyAccount customer portal should be a good indicator of your consumption habits and help point you in the right direction of which rate option is best for you based on how much energy you use, and when you use it.
Electricity distributors, like Hydro Ottawa, are not in a position to advise customers in their rate plan decision, including recommending one plan over another.
Reason being that, Hydro Ottawa has no insight or control over how a customer’s future electricity consumption behaviour may change.